The health condition of former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi remained “very critical” on Sunday although he responded to a longer duration of dialysis, state Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. The Congress veteran’s health condition deteriorated on Saturday afternoon, following multi-organ failure and he became unconscious with difficulty in breathing.

Sarma said the doctors had initially planned for four hours of dialysis, but they could continue for six hours. “Because of this six-hour dialysis, a lot of toxic elements could be taken out from his body. We can say this is a positive sign,” he told reporters at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) where Gogoi is admitted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi inquired about his health, his son Gaurav Gogoi said. Visiting the hospital at night and holding a meeting with senior doctors, Sarma said they will observe the veteran politician on Monday for any positive impact of the dialysis.

“Luckily, we received a new machine on Saturday that can conduct dialysis if a patient is on ventilation. His dialysis was done through that new machine. Two units of blood were also given to him,” he added. When asked if the condition has improved following his eye movement in the morning, the minister said the negligible body movements were seen because the effect of the sedatives was low at that time.

“His condition is very critical and serious. Doctors will try for dialysis on Monday as well for emitting the toxic materials,” said Sarma, the former cabinet colleague of Gogoi. The 84-year-old Congress leader was admitted to GMCH on November 2 with post-COVID complications and was on non- invasive ventilation (NIV). He was put on invasive ventilation on Saturday night as his condition deteriorated.

Speaking to the press, Gaurav said, “Prime Minister Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called me and inquired about his health conditions.” He said many people have visited him and he received calls from various chief ministers and leaders from across the country, inquiring about his father’s health. “Common people are praying everywhere and I think that is giving him strength… We have to fight this battle every day,” said an emotional Gaurav.

He said the GMCH authority has permitted a sound system inside the ICU for playing peoples’ prayers and listening to good old memories as “that is also a therapy”. “My father is in the hospital for almost three months now. The doctors have said that many young people don’t have that much courage like what he has shown,” Gaurav added.

Gaurav has been at the hospital since Saturday night, while the three-time Congress chief minister’s daughter and daughter-in-law visited the hospital on Sunday. In the morning, GMCH superintendent Abhijit Sarma said that as Gogoi is on inotropic support, the doctors had kept dialysis as the last resort to normalise urine output.

Doctors repeated all clinical tests and his vital health parameters showed marginal improvement compared to that of Saturday, the official said. Gogoi’s pulse rate and blood pressure are under check, and his oxygen saturation level is 95-97 per cent, Sarma said, adding that “there is no deterioration in his health condition. That is the most important thing”.

“The only worry is the urine output, which is around 100-120 ml in 24 hours,” he said. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal wished him a speedy recovery and took an update of his health condition from the hospital authorities.

State cabinet ministers and AGP leaders Atul Bora and Keshab Mahanta, BJP leader Ramen Deka and AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal were among those from other parties to visit the facility to enquire about his health. A host of MPs, MLAs, former ministers and senior leaders of the Congress are camping at the hospital since Saturday night.

Gogoi’s supporters are praying for his recovery at temples, mosques, churches and other places of worship across the state. On October 25, the former chief minister, who was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 and other post-recovery complications, was discharged from GMCH after two months.

Gogoi had tested positive for COVID-19 on August 25 and was admitted to the GMCH the next day. In the days before he was diagnosed with COVID-19, Gogoi was at the forefront of the Congress initiative to form a ‘Grand Alliance’, comprising all the opposition parties for the 2021 assembly polls.

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